Bilqis consults with Her Chiefs

When she read Sulayman's letter to them and consulted with them about this news, she said:

﴿يأَيُّهَا الْمَلأ أَفْتُونِى فِى أَمْرِى مَا كُنتُ قَـطِعَةً أَمْراً حَتَّى تَشْهَدُونِ﴾

("O chiefs! Advise me in (this) case of mine. I decide no case till you are present with me.'') meaning, `until you come together and offer me your advice.'

﴿قَالُواْ نَحْنُ أُوْلُواْ قُوَّةٍ وَأُولُو بَأْسٍ شَدِيدٍ﴾

(They said: "We have great strength, and great ability for war...'') They reminded her of their great numbers, preparedness and strength, then they referred the matter to her and said:

﴿وَالاٌّمْرُ إِلَيْكِ فَانظُرِى مَاذَا تَأْمُرِينَ﴾

(but it is for you to command; so think over what you will command.) meaning, `we have the power and strength, if you want to go to him and fight him.' The matter is yours to decide, so instruct us as you see fit and we will obey. Ibn `Abbas said: "Bilqis said:

﴿إِنَّ الْمُلُوكَ إِذَا دَخَلُواْ قَرْيَةً أَفْسَدُوهَا وَجَعَلُواْ أَعِزَّةَ أَهْلِهَآ أَذِلَّةً﴾

(Verily, kings, when they enter a town, they destroy it and make the most honorable amongst its people the lowest.) And Allah said:

﴿وَكَذلِكَ يَفْعَلُونَ﴾

(And thus they do. ) Then she resorted to peaceful means, seeking a truce and trying to placate Sulayman, and said:

﴿وَإِنِّى مُرْسِلَةٌ إِلَيْهِمْ بِهَدِيَّةٍ فَنَاظِرَةٌ بِمَ يَرْجِعُ الْمُرْسَلُونَ ﴾

(But verily, I am going to send him a present, and see with what the messengers return.) meaning, `I will send him a gift befitting for one of his status, and will wait and see what his response will be. Perhaps he will accept that and leave us alone, or he will impose a tax which we can pay him every year, so that he will not fight us and wage war against us.' Qatadah said: "May Allah have mercy on her and be pleased with her -- how wise she was as a Muslim and (before that) as an idolator! She understood how gift-giving has a good effect on people.'' Ibn `Abbas and others said: "She said to her people, if he accepts the gift, he is a king, so fight him; but if he does not accept it, he is a Prophet, so follow him.''

﴿فَلَمَّا جَآءَ سُلَيْمَانَ قَالَ أَتُمِدُّونَنِ بِمَالٍ فَمَآ ءَاتَـنِى اللَّهُ خَيْرٌ مِّمَّآ ءَاتَـكُمْ بَلْ أَنتُمْ بِهَدِيَّتِكُمْ تَفْرَحُونَ - ارْجِعْ إِلَيْهِمْ فَلَنَأْتِيَنَّهُم بِجُنُودٍ لاَّ قِبَلَ لَهُمْ بِهَا وَلَنُخْرِجَنَّهُم مِّنْهَآ أَذِلَّةً وَهُمْ صَـغِرُونَ ﴾

(36. So, when (the messengers with the gift) came to Sulayman, he said: "Will you help me in wealth What Allah has given me is better than that which He has given you! Nay, you rejoice in your gift!'') (37. "Go back to them. We verily, shall come to them with armies that they cannot resist, and we shall drive them out from there in disgrace, and they will be abased.'')